10 big tech trends for 2014 and how to use them in your marketing strategy

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2013 to 2014

By Judith Middleton and Nicola Byers

Whether you are in marketing or IT or frankly any kind of business at all, technology is likely to disrupt the way you do things in a profound way next year. To successfully navigate this challenging new business environment, marketers will have to take heed of a number of key trends and quickly learn how to use them to their advantage.

Based on the latest data from analysts and industry experts, the ten main technology trends for next year are:

1. Governance will evolve from an obligation to a true value-add for customers and staff alike.

2. The management of multiple suppliers will be actively tested through the service integration model.

3. As consumers seek more powerful devices and applications, the pace of technological change will increase exponentially, creating new competition in nearly every field and the disruption and realignment of many industries.

4. Companies will have to reinvent themselves to tap into the economic opportunities presented by the Emerging Six countries (Brazil, India, Russia, China, South Korea and Indonesia) who will account for more than half of global GDP growth by 2015.

5. Business decision-making will be based on analysing big data, and access to this data will extend to mobile devices.

6. The world will become ‘mobile-first’, with mobile experiences eclipsing the desktop and tablets and other smart devices entering the enterprise environment en-masse.

7. The growth of the cloud will make devices less important than the services accessed through them.

8. The Internet of Things, referring to devices (instead of people) connected to the internet starts evolving into the Internet of Everything as new technologies connect everything – from clothes to cars to consumable products – to the world wide web.

9. Payments will evolve, with mobile phones becoming a mainstream payment device and virtual currencies growing in adoption.

10. Revolutions will be seen in various spheres including telecoms, which has taken over from mining as the big money generator in Africa, and the internet itself, which is currently being reimagined by a growing social consciousness movement that wants to take it back from governments and large corporations.

Irrespective of whether you are marketing to a B2B or consumer-focused market, at the receiving end of any communication is a person. This is where the ultimate engagement needs to lie.

For anyone in marketing to be successful, they will need to employ innovative new thinking that navigates the hugely complex marketing environment, while still staying true to the fundamental values that have made them successful in past. They can do so by adhering to the following five key principles:

1. People need to understand how each person defines value. Delivering this value consistently will enable marketers to remain top-of-mind during any purchase decision-making. To do this: harness new technologies — but make sure the brand experience is consistent at all times across all channels.

2. To achieve this, you need to deliver useful content to your audience in the right format, at the right time. People are drowning in a sea of information and it’s a huge challenge to break through the clutter. Have a clear strategy and quality content to make sure the brand is positioned correctly.

3. Knowing the needs of your audience is the only way to ensure effective delivery of content. Monitoring tools will help you find gaps in the ongoing conversations relating to your industry where you can deliver the content.

4. By using monitoring and digital tools, you can also prove a measurable ROI based on key business objectives. Discerning budgets have brought the need for proper reporting starkly to light, and a marketer’s effectiveness will be measured against how he or she reports back on the impact of the various marketing and communication activities.

5. In this sea of change, don’t lose sight of the values that have made you successful in the first place. With so much doubt and uncertainty, business principles such as integrity, consistency and transparency are more important than ever.

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